You got to love the folks contributing to Mac OS X open source efforts. As a result from these efforts, now you can dust off those USB webcams you purchased years ago, and retrofit it to your existing Mac.
Enter, Macam, an open source driver for USB webcams. In order to commit to this write-up, we downloaded and installed it. Testing it with an archaic (and discontinued) Logitech Quickcam Express that was purchased about half a decade ago. The results were startling,… to witness a half a decade old PC-based webcam suddenly coming to life on our Macs!
With the additional installation of a QuickTime plugin, the archaic Quickcam Express kicked to life on the latest edition of Skype but unfortunately not iChat AV. Which is probably just as well, since Skype is right now, more useful than iChat AV, given that Skype is one of the few Instant Messengers (IM) that supports multi-platform (Mac/PC) video conferencing. It also doesn’t work with iMovie either.
Some of the features of the Macam application include:
- Still image capture
- Recording live video to a QuickTime movie
However, the resolution did leave a lot to be desired but then again, we weren’t expecting much (bearing in mind the Quickcam Express is probably older than our Mac) and glad that the Quickcam Express worked at all. Now, we don’t have to chuck it in the bin.
You can check out whether your USB webcam is currently supported by Macam here, before you download your copy of Macam here. Macam is also exceptionally welcoming, now that Apple Inc has unilaterally decided to cease production of their popular iSight webcam. Now, Mac users everywhere, have an alternative.